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Sushi Night Simplified

I’ve always been so intimidated by making sushi at home. Mostly, I just didn’t trust myself to track down sushi-grade fish. And also because since the fun of sushi (for me at least) is the variety of little tastes and bites (I have my order down to a science) it seemed like an all-or-nothing situation. Where would I find good quality toro and eel? And how could I make that perfectly rectangular block of sweet egg –for me it wasn’t sushi night without that, for sure. Which is ridiculous. Why set the bar so high? Or even so raw? Last week, to ease myself into it, we made shrimp (cooked) and avocado rolls, cucumber, asparagus, avocado rolls. The girls got to pick their own combo and of course enjoyed the wrapping and the dipping. And you know what? It was pretty easy.Sushi Night with the Kids

To make sushi rice (adapted from Alton Brown)

2 cups sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Place the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with 2 cups of cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, pour off and repeat until the water is clear.

Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi.

Get your spread ready:

Lay out the following items:

special equipment: sushi mat
a few sheets of nori (available at Asian specialty stores)
sushi rice (above)
3/4 pound cooked, shelled shrimp
1 avocado, in slices (as shown)
1 English cucumber, cut lengthwise into the skinniest strips you can manage (as shown)
10-12 asparagus spears
soy sauce

Lay a sheet of nori on your sushi mat. Add about 1/2 cup of rice to the center, leaving a border on the top and bottom of the roll. Add your preferred combination of shrimp and vegetables, being careful not to overload. Using the sushi mat, roll the nori tightly around the filling. Paint the edge of the roll with wet fingertips and seal tightly. Using a very sharp knife, cut roll into six pieces. Repeat with remaining rolls and serve with soy sauce.

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